OCCE2021 DTEL – Digital Transformation of Education and Learning – Past, Present and Future

This IFIP TC3 conference had such an appropriate topic title – digital transformation was certainly fundamental to its success. Chaired by Dr Jaana Holvikivi and Prof Mikko Ruohonen, not only was it the first hybrid conference organised and run by IFIP TC3, it was also the first hybrid conference run by any TC within IFIP. Digital transformation allowed the conference to happen – digital transformation allowed the linking of onsite participants with online participants, so ably managed by conference coordinators Katriina Vartiainen and Isabella Presnal with their teams. In our current situation, where we need to find solutions to the constraints brought about by the Covid-10 pandemic, digital transformation has been vital.

The idea that digital technologies would bring about digital transformation has been mooted for many years – certainly over the past 30 years in educational spheres. This conference allowed us, through the 70 presentations in the programme, to reflect on the shifts that have occurred, and to recognise the many ways that the digital environment has supported and now supports education, not just through information access, but also through communication access. The conference recognised that although we may well have reached a crucial point of digital transformation, which has enabled many learners during this past year or so to continue to benefit from educational access, that there will still be transformation to come. 

As shown in research papers presented, the continuing development of digital technologies brings new opportunities and prospects for a wider range of learners, who can benefit from increasing personalised support and engagement. The conference came at an important juncture – it is so important that we have been able to reflect on the benefits gained over the last year or so, as well as the challenges we have faced as educators. Although many issues have arisen, we must be careful not to throw away the benefits because of the challenges – we should embrace the benefits for supporting the future!

In total, the IFIP TC3 OCCE 2021 DTEL conference involved 72 registered participants, 62 online and 10 onsite. In addition, we supported a number of administrative officers, collaborating professors, doctoral students and funding body representatives by opening selected symposia sessions, keynotes and the panel for their online use. One of the innovations in this conference was a collaboration webinar, run with the company Funzi, which opened up a shared, interactive SDG-oriented panel for our OCCE 2021 participants and linked a number of external stakeholders in the field of sustainable development goals, digitalisation and learning. 

The participants attended from 26 countries ranging across time zones, from the USA via European and African countries to Japan and Australia, who all welcomed the opportunity to share their experiences and research outcomes. The excellent range of presented papers and symposia were supplemented by highly insightful keynotes from Associate Prof Mikko-Jussi Laakso, Prof Minna Huotilainen and Prof Katariina Salmela-Aro, as well by demonstrations, the panel and online discussions.

Digital transformation – celebrated in the IFIP 60th Anniversary!







Keynote speakers (Mikko-Jussi Laakso, Minna Huotilainen and Katariina Salmela-Aro) plus the Onsite Delegates Dinner